International Definition of a Midwife
     Qualifications: A midwife is a person who, having been
regularly admitted to a midwifery educational programme, duly
recognised in the country in which it is located, has successfully
completed the prescribed course of studies in midwifery and has
acquired the requisite qualifications to be registered and/or
legally licensed to practise midwifery.

     Types of Care: The midwife is recognised as a 
responsible and accountable professional who works in partnership with
women to give the necessary support,care and advice during pregnancy, 
labour and the postpartum period, to conduct births on the midwife's own
responsibility and to provide care for the newborn and the infant. This 
care includes preventative measures, the promotion of normal birth, the 
detection of complications in mother and child, the accessing of medical
care or other appropriate assistance, and the carrying out of emergency
measures. The midwife has an important task in health counselling
and education, not only for the woman, but also within the family
and the community. The work should involve antenatal education and
preparation for parenthood and may extend to women's health, sexual or
reproductive health and child care. 

     Locations for Practise: A midwife may practise in any setting
including the home, community, hospitals, clinics, or health units.

(Adopted by the International Confederation of Midwives Council meeting,
19th July, 2005, Brisbane, Australia.
Supersedes the ICM "Definition of the Midwife" 1972 and its amendments 
of 1990).

International Confederation of Midwives,
Eisnhowerlaam 				+ 31 70 3060520
138-2517 KN				+ 31 70 3555651 FAX
The Hague			E-mail:
The Netherlands
Website ICM
Midwife is from Anglo-Saxon words; mid = with, wif = woman. In English midwife means someone who provides continuity of care to a woman and her baby from pregnancy through the postpartum period. In French a midwife is sage-femme; a wise woman providing this continuity of care.